Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma: State-of-the-art 2017 and new therapeutic strategies
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a fatal malignancy with an overall 5-year survival of 8% for all stages combined. The majority of patients present with stage IV disease at diagnosis and these patients have an overall 5-year survival of 3%. Currently, the standard of care for metastatic pancreas adenocarcinoma is combination cytotoxic therapy, namely FOLFIRINOX or gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel for good performance status patients. Given the challenges and the rising incidence of PDAC expected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death by 2030, there is a major unmet need to develop more effective therapies. In this setting, the molecular and genomic characterization of PDAC have underpinned the use of targeted therapies. To date, the results from targeted agent evaluation have been disappointing with some exceptions. Novel promising strategies depend on biomarker identification and patient selection e.g. germline mutations in DNA repair or mismatch repair genes, where the addition of a platinum agent or checkpoint inhibitor can have a positive impact on survival. This article will review the state-of-the-art treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer with an emphasis on novel promising therapeutic strategies and an overview on emerging biomarkers.